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Stampede in Chamunda Devi temple mars 'Navratri' festival revelry

Mehrangarh (Rajasthan), Mon, 06 Oct 2008 ANI

Mehrangarh (Rajasthan), Oct 1 (ANI): A day after the stampede that killed at least 147 devotees, a handful of devotees came on Wednesday to offer prayers on the second day of the nine-day Navratri festival at the Chamunda Devi temple in Rajasthan.


The stampede occurred at the Chamunda Devi temple, inside a fort on top of a hill near Jodhpur.


Few devotees came to the temple to offer prayer for nine day Hindu festival of "Navratri".


The devotees who came to offer prayers said that lack of proper facilities in handling large crowds lead to the tragic incident killing many.


"Every year I come here but the rush that was there on Tuesday was unusual. There were long queues. Some people spread the rumour that a wall has fallen and the authorities also could not handle the unruly crowd. There were few policemen on the spot and so the incident happened. It was destined, so it happened," said Ankit, a devotee.


The devotees feel that the structure needs infrastructural change to receive such huge crowds.


"They should restructure the facilities for incoming and outgoing devotees totally. The temple receives 25,000-3000 devotees. The changes might cost 50-60 lakh rupees," said Shubash, another devotee.


There was a huge rush of Hindu devotees as they thronged the historic temple to mark the first day of the nine-day Navratri festival and the stampede occurred when there was rumor of a wall collapse, witness said.


Last month, a stampede outside a mountaintop Hindu temple in Himachal Pradesh killed at least 145 pilgrims.


Authorities then ordered an investigation into that disaster, which occurred after rumours of a landslide triggered panic among pilgrims who ran down a narrow mountain trail from the Naina Devi temple in Himachal Pradesh, only to meet thousands of people walking up. (ANI)


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